London Fire Brigade

London Fire Brigade rises to spending review challenge

21 October 2010

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, which runs the London Fire Brigade, is spearheading changes designed to ensure that the UK’s  fire and rescue service is fit for the 21st century.

As part of his comprehensive spending review, Chancellor George Osborne announced yesterday that there would be reductions in fire and rescue spending but it would be limited in “return for substantial operational reform.”

The coalition government has identified a number of  key areas where the UK’s fire and rescue services could modernise to become more efficient and effective .

Chairman and Leader of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Councillor Brian Coleman AM, FRSA, said: “This Authority is leading the way in delivering these changes. Proposals such as equal 12 hour shifts for firefighters will create a more productive and flexible workforce and are at the heart of our own modernisation agenda. We want to see a lean, efficient and effective fire service which ensures people are kept safe and the number of fires continues to fall, while delivering an ever better deal for the taxpayer.”

Sharing back office functions - such as the provision of democratic and IT services - with its GLA  partners is another area in which London Fire Brigade is already demonstrating how to deliver a value for money service without compromising public safety. A number of senior management posts have also been cut – saving £425,000 - and there are further proposals that will look at merging head office departments.

The Brigade has proposed a budget for the forthcoming year which will achieve savings of nearly £11 million, without making firefighters redundant or closing fire stations.

Notes to editors:

As part of the comprehensive spending review it was announced that over a four year period the level of formula grant which makes up about 60% of LFEPA’s funding will be reduced by 25 per cent.

To achieve this level of savings, the government says  fire and rescue services will need to modernise, increase efficiency and deliver workforce reform. It will be for individual fire authorities to decide how to make these savings.

The seven areas of potential savings identified by the government are: flexible staffing arrangements; improved sickness management; pay restraint and recruitment freezes; shared services/back office functions; improved procurement; sharing chief officers and other senior staff; voluntary amalgamations between Fire and rescue Authorities.

The full impact on the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s budget will not become clear until the outcome of the Local Government Finance Settlement is known. This is the grant the GLA receives from central government which is the primary source of funding for its budget. The Mayor may also ask the Authority to make additional savings.